There are few things provided for free in this life, and this is especially true for computer programs. However there are exceptions, and the tools provided to tabletop-gamers by RPTools are a good exception !
They have several Java-based applications to help a gaming group : InitiativeTool, DiceTool, Map & Token tools and also a CharacterTool. What is most common in these are that they are both free to use, and they are quite awesome in what they do.
As a short recap, I bring you a list what these softwares do, and I give you detail in the two programs I use the most, the InititativeTool and DiceTool.
CharacterTool – You may create characters for different tabletop-games with relative ease
DiceTool – To roll dice in any combination you could imagine from 2d6 to (24d10-15)/2, and even keeping definedd combos
InitiativeTool – To follow who could act when with many extra functions (pre-defined groups, spell/effect follow-up etc.)
MapTool – Create maps for a gaming session, and even manage complete gaming sessions online
TokenTool – It’s good to create tokens for the great Map tool, from existing pictures, or even from scratch
The MapTool in action
I think even based on the above list, you could imagine how much help these tools could offer to a Game Master, especially if you always have a laptop at hand when you play, as myself. And what’s even more, above the base tools you could download a lots of extra materials (for example token packs) to use with the map tool.
But back on the tools in detail.
As you may guess, i have already seen many dice-roller tools out there, but until now RPTool‘s version seems to be the closest of my taste.
The main reason for it, that it’s very quick and easy to use. I1s also worth a note, that it’s a very clean design, and everything is readily recognizable.
There are two main functions :
– You could roll “x” dice by giving a quantity and click on the type. In 95% the cases you won’t need anything else. (rolls from this appear in yellow on the left side, detailing every dice in the roll)
– You may also create tabs, where you could make predefined settings to use later in a single click (the tabs are in the right, while the results appear with a white background on the left)
You may also set fixed variables to use, so in a nutshell it’s everything you may want from a toll like this. But, let’s see something much more complicated.
Maybe it seems overstatement at first, but I feel that the InitiativeTool is a real work of art in it’s category. Basically, it is filled with features to help any Game Master.
The primary function in the software (as you may guess) to add participiants to an encounter, roll for their initiative, and keep track about who coud act when. Youm may even set, if you want to input rolls manually. For example I let my players roll for their own initiative, while the program rolls for the NPCs. Well, but it’s much more than that.
You could create participiants on the fly to an encounter, but you may also create and save predefined groups for use.
The GroupTool is my favorite part of the software, as it helps me to predefine groups for the possible encounters in my campaign before the game, and simply drag and drop the player party and the enemies in the current encounter to the initiative bar. And what is more, the tool includes an extensive list of DnD 3.5 monsters, which could be added readily to a group.
The sum of predefined groups could be saved for further use, which is very useful if you have multiple different campaigns runing.
As you may recognize on the left, you may add much more information to a participiant than jut its initiative bonus. This part is mostly suited for Dungeons & Dragons and Pathfinder and other OGL games, but has it’s applications for other games too. a “Notes” field fils up the rest, what I use to track the current HP of the different creatures.
During an encounter you may also ad timers, whitch is really great to follow spells and different abilities with a turn based limit. Also, there is a stopper included, what you may use if your players are suffering from analisys-paralisys.
the GroupTool in use
As for the DiceTool, the InitiativeTool is also easy to use, as most functions are very self explanatory. I guess any Game Master is able to learn it’s use in several minutes.
At the end, I feel that any Game Masters who is open to use software tools to their gaming sessions, should at least try out RPTools several softwares.
You may find RPTools homepage at RPTools.net.
Zoltán “Cain” Mészáros
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